State of Publishing: April 2018 –…

State of Publishing: April 2018 – UK Market

April was another news-filled month.

The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to her third child. Ant McPartlin left rehab. Britons were loving/hating the turbulent weather conditions, from a freezing Easter to record-breaking heatwaves.

We also saw the impact of Facebook’s algorithm change back in January, which prioritised personal over public content. Social Media as a traffic source to News & Media sites had declined; amplifying the importance of Search. In particular, the importance of Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) has grown for publishers.

In this State of Publishing edition, we cover these headlines plus more:

  • Which publishers won the top news stories in April?
  • What types of audiences tuned in to read the top story?
  • How can publishers use AMP to their advantage?

Top 20 Publishers


UK State of Publishing: April 2018 - Top 20
Source: Visit share in News & Media sites. The above list excludes: BBC Homepage, BBC Good Food, Reddit and Weather sites

Top Articles in April


Coverage by the BBC on the Royal Baby dominated domestic news. International news was more sombre, with the Syrian War, Southwest Airlines and Youtube shooting incidents dominating headlines. The Sun won share over its coverage on celebrities, Dale Winton and Ant McPartlin. As summer approaches, BMI and weight were also top of mind for human interest and novelty stories.

UK State of Publishing: April 2018 - Top Articles
Source: Top articles over the month of April 2018.

The Royal Baby: Who Was Interested?


Let’s look at the top audience behind the top domestic story in April.

Although females were more likely to tune into Royal Baby news, the birth of Prince Louis attracted the attention of diverse age groups.

UK State of Publishing: April 2018 - Royal Baby
Source: Audience Profiler: Hitwise and Kantar Media TGI. Audience = Searches of “royal baby” (and top 1000 search variations). Period = 4 rolling weeks to 28-April-2018. Index is compared to the general online population.

Compared to the general online population, the most over-indexed groups included: 18-24 yo, 55-64 yo and 75+ yo. News of Baby Number 3 was still an English affair, and less popular in Scotland, North Ireland and London.

UK State of Publishing: April 2018 - Attitudes Index

Source: Audience Profiler: Hitwise and Kantar Media TGI. Audience = Searches of “royal baby” (and top 1000 search variations). Period = 4 rolling weeks to 28-April-2018. Index is compared to the general online population.

Despite these differences, this audience had some common values. They were aspirational, had expensive taste, cared about their appearance and were willing to spend on beauty.

The Royal Baby: Who Won Traffic?


Which publication won the “royal baby” story in April?

The below chart looks at searches around the “royal baby” and tracks where these searches led to. Daily Express, The Sun and BBC News won the largest share of this traffic at 10%+. Daily Express attracted the largest number of unique users at almost 65,000. In contrast, fourth-placed Sky News attracted the lowest number of unique users, implying the highest return rate among its readers. The Daily Mail also had the highest proportion of “royal baby” traffic on mobile devices, at 73% compared to desktop.

UK State of Publishing: April 2018 - Royal Baby Searches
Source: Hitwise. Audience = Searches of “royal baby” (and top 1000 search variations). Period = 4 rolling weeks to 28-April-2018.

Using AMP to Your Advantage


It’s become more important than ever to optimise your AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) strategy. Google is the largest traffic source to the News & Media industry, accounting for 30% of all clicks in Q1.

UK State of Publishing: April 2018 - Top Publishers by AMP
Source: Hitwise. Audience = Visited AMP vs. Visits General Site/Not AMP. Period = Month of April.

The reliance of Social Media has declined by 27% in Q1 YoY, particularly from Facebook since its algorithm change.

Several publishers have caught onto the trend, including The Sun, The Mirror and Daily Express, which received almost 20% of their traffic from AMP in the month of April.

AMP as an Acquisition Tactic


How did The Sun achieve top place on AMP?

The audience that reads The Sun’s AMP pages, compared to its general audience (non-AMP), differed.

The Sun’s AMP audience in April was disparate in ages (both young Millennials and older) and more London-based. Whereas, the general site / non-AMP audience were older and more Northern-based. Their searches, i.e. their interests, also differed.

UK State of Publishing: April 2018 - AMP Audience

Source: Hitwise. Audience = Visited AMP vs. Visits General Site/Not AMP. Period = Month of April.

The Sun’s AMP audience were more likely to search for general celebrity news, football and television spoilers. Whereas, The Sun’s general audience searched for particular celebrity news like Avicii, Omar Sharif and Dave Allen.